Another indicator of Colorado Avalanche loving the Ilya Nabokov selection

This popular draft website had Ilya Nabokov ranked much lower than where the Colorado Avalanche selected the goaltender.
Metallurg Hockey Club player, Ilya Nabokov (30) seen in...
Metallurg Hockey Club player, Ilya Nabokov (30) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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It’s been nearly a week since the 2024 NHL Draft occurred and by now, you’ve seen the picks by the Colorado Avalanche. Their first of three goaltenders is who we’re going to focus on, because as a higher draft pick, the team will expect the most out of him and his future.

Like I have said, I was a bit surprised that the Avalanche took a goaltender with their first selection in the draft. That being said, the trade down out of the first round allowed them the flexibility to do so and they took who many believe to be the best goaltender in the entire draft. Not only that—he was the very first goaltender off the board, which is also pretty significant.

In an ideal world, Nabokov will gain some experience playing some hockey in lower-level leagues and then eventually get called to the Colorado Avalanche organization sooner than later. In an ideal world, perhaps he will end up being a superstar goaltender that the team can rely on as their future. I know that’s a pretty tall ask of a young goaltender, but at this point, I’m only hoping—I’m not saying it must happen, although that would be nice.

The Colorado Avalanche made Nabokov a high draft pick despite rankings

Elite Prospects is a website that specializes in draft prospect profiles, scouting reports and rankings. They honestly were a big help for myself in getting to know what types of players were headed to the NHL and specifically the Colorado Avalanche. Thankfully, they also do grades and other sorts of rankings. As a reader, I love those sorts of things.

It puts into perspective several things including whether a player possibly got drafted too early or too late. Of course, it is their opinion and whatnot. Well, let’s just talk about where they had Illya Nabokov in their rankings compared to where the Colorado Avalanche selected him.

Nabokov was selected by the Avalanche 38th overall, six picks into the second round. Elite Prospects had him as the 91st overall player in their rankings. That is a massive difference of 53. So, in their eyes, he could have been available at a lower pick.

It is a good thing the Avalanche did select him with their first pick, though. They didn’t have another pick until the 76th overall selection, so the likelihood of Nabokov still being available wasn’t very likely. It’s also entirely possible that they heard chirps that other teams were looking at taking him shortly after their first selection. This is a case of “if you’re in love with a player, go after him.”

We will wait and see how the selection of Nabokov plays out. When will that be? Who knows. As the second-highest drafted goaltender in team history, I think it is fair for the team to expect a lot in years to come, but at the same time, let’s not rush the process.

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